Good Practice: Medical Respite Programs Offer Homeless Patients a Place to Go

Viral cases of "patient dumping" this year have shown that many homeless patients simply have nowhere to go after a hospital stay.

“These high-profile cases of “patient dumping” have shed light on the fact that many homeless people simply have nowhere to go after a hospital stay. The cases, while “horrific,” are actually raising awareness about the growing need for more affordable housing and widespread medical respite care for the homeless, says Julia Dobbins, a project manager at the National Health Care for the Homeless Council (NHCHC).”

Worth the read. Check it out.

This is happening in Quincy too. See the photo essay about James K. Here’s the link to his story.

August 2016:  Just two days after being released from the hospital for dehydration, James, homeless and sleeping outdoors in Quincy’s downtown district area, is again admitted to the hospital for treatment of pneumonia. Whether homeless, or trapped in Quincy's widespread unlawful substandard housing market, exposed to the dangers of cockroach infestations, black mold, lead paint exposure, and other unhealthy and dangerous conditions, the poor and homeless are caught up in a cycle of health issues unique to their population. There’s often simply no safe or clean environment for them to go to heal.

August 2016: Just two days after being released from the hospital for dehydration, James, homeless and sleeping outdoors in Quincy’s downtown district area, is again admitted to the hospital for treatment of pneumonia. Whether homeless, or trapped in Quincy's widespread unlawful substandard housing market, exposed to the dangers of cockroach infestations, black mold, lead paint exposure, and other unhealthy and dangerous conditions, the poor and homeless are caught up in a cycle of health issues unique to their population. There’s often simply no safe or clean environment for them to go to heal.

ADVANTAGES OF PROACTIVE RENTAL INSPECTION (PRI) PROGRAMS

In many instances, PRI programs may be more effective than complaint-based programs in ensuring safe and healthy housing, preserving housing stock, protecting vulnerable tenants, and maintaining neighborhood property values.

August 2017:  Carson, 3, makes his way down the staircase. The plaster patches and duct tape on the walls of this Quincy rental duplex are the result of Wendy’s daughter’s boyfriend’s attempt to cover several holes that have been there since before the Smith’s moved in. Wendy and Chris say the first landlord said he would make the needed repairs but never did. They say when their current landlord purchased the house more than a year ago he said he would make the repairs to the walls. But a year later, no repairs.

August 2017: Carson, 3, makes his way down the staircase. The plaster patches and duct tape on the walls of this Quincy rental duplex are the result of Wendy’s daughter’s boyfriend’s attempt to cover several holes that have been there since before the Smith’s moved in. Wendy and Chris say the first landlord said he would make the needed repairs but never did. They say when their current landlord purchased the house more than a year ago he said he would make the repairs to the walls. But a year later, no repairs.

PRI Programs Preserve Safe and Healthy Rental Housing

By relieving tenants of the burden of having to force reticent landlords to make needed repairs, systematic inspections can help ensure that a locality’s rental housing stock is maintained and that residents live in healthy conditions.

Between the establishment of Los Angeles’s Systematic Code Enforcement Program (SCEP) in 1998 and 2005, “more than 90 percent of the city’s multifamily housing stock [was] inspected and more than one and half million habitability violations [were] corrected. The result [was] an estimated $1.3 billion re-investment by owners in the city’s existing housing stock.”For example, between 2008 and 2013, under Sacramento’s Rental Housing Inspection Program, housing and dangerous building cases were reduced by 22 percent.

According to a study of PRI programs in five North Carolina cities, the City of Greensboro alone brought more than 8,700 rental properties up to minimum standards in four years under its proactive rental inspection program (RUCO).

In addition, by ensuring that landlords are aware of poor conditions before they worsen, systematic code enforcement encourages preventative maintenance, which is more cost effective than deferred maintenance, and thereby helps land lords to maintain their properties.

PRI Programs Help Protect the Most Vulnerable Tenants

Often, the most vulnerable tenants don’t complain. Some tenants are unaware that they have a right to safe and habitable housing. They may not know about existing tenant protections or code enforcement programs. Or they may have language barriers or disabilities that make it difficult to navigate the code enforcement system. Many tenants may be afraid to complain about their housing for fear of increased rent or landlord retaliation (such as eviction). Residents may be undocumented or have limited income that

hampers their ability to move. As a result of these barriers, the housing inhabited by the most vulnerable populations, which is frequently the worst housing, is often the most likely to fall through the cracks

of a complaint-based code enforcement system. In 2009, Linda Argo, the Director of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) for the District of Columbia, testified before the D.C. City Council about the need for their proactive rental inspection. - changelabsolutions.org

Poor Health: When Poverty Becomes Disease

By Claire Conway on January 06, 2016

Talmadge King Jr., MD, dean of the UCSF School of Medicine, tells the story of an ER physician who had lost a document and was searching frantically for it in the garbage bins behind Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center. What he found instead in the mountain of rubbish were crumpled prescription slips that patients had tossed in hospital trash cans throughout the week.

“Going forward, the conversations that ER doctor had with his patients changed. They became, ‘Well, you need these drugs. Which can you afford? How can I help?’” relates King. “Often it’s not that the patients aren’t adhering to advice. It’s that they can’t pay for the drugs, didn’t understand why they should take them, or simply that they did not feel the doctor even listened to them.”

Poverty collides with health every day at UCSF, compelling clinicians and scientists to engineer ways to disentangle the two, one complexity at a time. It’s the nurse trying to help a mom living in a single-room-occupancy hotel find refrigeration for her son’s antibiotic before an infection ruptures his second eardrum. Or the scientist gathering data on the toxic effects of stress on unborn children. Or the dentist trying to salvage the graying teeth in a toddler’s mouth – poverty’s most obvious portal.

Read More

US income inequality continues to grow

  • In 2015, the top 1 percent of families in the United States made more than 25 times what families in the bottom 99 percent did, according to a paper from the Economic Policy Institute.
  • This trend, which has picked up post Great Recession, is a reversal of what was seen during and after the Great Depression, where the gap between rich and poor narrowed.
  • “Rising inequality affects virtually every part of the country, not just large urban areas or financial centers,” said co-author Estelle Sommeiller.

Carmen Reinicke | @csreinicke

Published 4:22 PM ET Thu, 19 July 2018 Updated 5:06 PM ET Thu, 19 July 2018

CNBC.com

 

The Criminalization of Poverty - The Washington Post

“A few months ago I got a speeding ticket while driving through a southern state. (I’ll just leave it at that for now.) I was definitely speeding, so the stop didn’t bother me. Neither did the specific fine for speeding — $62. What I found appalling were the add-ons. There was a court fee, a processing fee, some sort of vague “assessment,” and a few others charges I don’t recall. In the end, the ticket cost me over $250. The extras amounted to several times the cost of the initial infraction. I hadn’t had a speeding ticket in over five years. But the last time I got one, I was only asked to pay the cost of the fine for the infraction itself. So this is a new thing.

A yearlong NPR investigation found that the costs of the criminal justice system in the United States are paid increasingly by the defendants and offenders. It’s a practice that causes the poor to face harsher treatment than others who commit identical crimes and can afford to pay. Some judges and politicians fear the trend has gone too far.

Failure to pay these fines results in — you guessed it — more fines, plus interest. If the debt is sent to a collection agency, those fees get tacked on, too. Ultimately, inability to pay the fines can land you in a jail cell. Which is why we’re now seeing what are effectively debtors’ prisons, even though the concept is technically illegal.”

This Is Why Poor People Can (And Should) Have Nice Things

February 2, 2016 by Carmen Rios

"The myth that poor people shouldn’t, and can’t, have “nice things” – and that having those things invalidates their experiences – is all around us. 

It’s deeply ingrained in us that there are only two very polarized ways to exist: to be comfortable or to have absolutely nothing. 

Having anything deemed a “luxury” disqualifies you from talking about poverty, or relying on social support, or asking for help – even if those so-called “luxuries” are necessities like kitchen appliances for making and preserving and storing food, mobile technologies that enable us to stay afloat in the modern world, and apparel that  about our situation.

And that’s bullshit.

The longer we force people to suffer as much as possible before we help them, the worse off we all are. 

And the longer we sit around pretending poverty only looks like one set of circumstances, the harder it’s going to be to really get down to business and end it once and for all.

When we deny things of poor people based in the idea that poor people “don’t deserve” those things, just by virtue of their financial situation, we’re perpetuating classism. Our income, our savings, our credit lines – those are not sums of our worth. 

When we refuse to empathize and trust in people’s stories, when we refuse to allow the poor to ask for help or call themselves as such, we perpetuate a status quo that makes the actual suffering of poor people invisible and worthless. 

And when we do that, we hurt everyone who isn’t swimming in pools full of hundred dollar bills. 

When we tell poor people they can’t be poor and own a cell phone, we invalidate the stories of thousands of low- and middle-class Americans who feel insecure about their finances. 

When we tell poor people they shouldn’t be buying healthy food, or nice clothes, or renting their own apartments, or anything along those lines, we buy into a false dichotomy between rich and poor that does nothing but make most of us poorer."